Entering a game jam?
It’s important to know what you want out of the experience and go into it with healthy expectations. I’ve participated in 7 jams and each one was wildly different.
I was still a game design student when I entered my first jam, and I had high expectations. I had heard stories of successful indie games that started as game jam projects: Super Hot, Costume Quest, and Goat Simulator, for example. I imagined myself creating a prototype that was so fun, fresh and full of potential that it had to be expanded it into a full game. Sadly, after 48 hours of hard work and little sleep, I created something boring and ugly, with little promise of becoming a hit game. I was disappointed, so each jam I did afterwards, I approached differently, trying to find a method that worked.
What I’ve learned is that not every game jam will yield a fun or interesting game and that’s okay. There are many ways to approach a jam and your success shouldn’t always be determined by the quality of game you end up creating.
Use this list to help you figure out what you want out of the experience:
4 Ways To Jam:
1. Game jam to develop your skills
Maybe you’re a designer who wants to try programming, or a 3D artist who wants to try 2D animation. Jams are a great way to practice.
2. Game jam to prototype your idea
Team up with like-minded people with different skill sets and take a stab at that brilliant game idea you’ve been thinking about.
3. Game jam to socialize
Some people just like the social aspect of a game jam. You get to meet cool people who like games and have fun brainstorming and working together.
4. Game jam as a challenge
Most game jams are based around a theme or constraints that are announced at the beginning of the jam. Sometimes it’s fun to wait for the theme announcement, then wrangle up a team and start brainstorming!
Keep your team small
You have limited time to create your game. Unless you’re entering the jam as a Producer, you probably don’t want to spend time managing people. Keep your team small so that it’s easy to communicate, merge your work, and make quick changes if necessary.
Don’t pull an all-nighter
We tend to glorify overworking and think the only way to quickly realize a game idea is to work overtime. But productivity and quality of work usually goes down when we’re tired. Scope your game and schedule your time so that you don’t have to pull all-nighters.
To register for Global Archiact Jam 7. Check out: https://itch.io/jam/global-archiact-jam
Written by Andy Bacon - Game Designer
Receive blog posts by email
Sign up below and we'll email you every time we make a new blog post.